This was it. The day I'd leave behind everything and everyone I knew for a boarding school I hadn't even heard of until I got an acceptance letter to said school. Well, not everyone I knew. Mellie and Silver would be coming too, since they got an acceptance letter as well. I remember Aika was pretty disappointed after she realized she'd be stuck at home with Mom and Dad and Michael while the rest of us went off on some grand adventure.
It would be like that for her. For me...this was just prep time for college next year. Which probably explained the reason I wasn't nervous at all about it.
Mellie, though, radiated anxiety. "It's all right," I said in an attempt to reassure her. "The school can't be too far away from here if we're going by car."
Her response: "I wish I could switch with Aika right now."
I replied, "Well, if you did, that would mean Aika would have to actually pretend to be you, and she isn't exactly the best at pretending." I paused. "Although you two do look basically alike." Which my two sisters did, right down to their almond-shaped bright blue eyes in near-identical oval faces.
Just then, Mom and Dad came out to the end of the driveway with Aika and Michael in tow. After Mom and the two youngest said their goodbyes to us, Dad hugged the three of us in turn before saying, "Make sure to break some people's hearts for me, okay?"
At that, Mom gave him a dirty look, which prompted Dad to correct himself with, "Mend. I meant mend."
However, we had known Dad long enough to know that he actually didn't mean "mend" (that bit was just something to keep Mom happy), and he confirmed that when he mouthed "break" the moment Mom looked away.
Just as Silver and I began to laugh (Mellie was still too anxious to, unfortunately), we heard a car slow down, then stop in front of the driveway. I stopped and looked at my mom for a bit, noticing that she looked lost in thought, and that whatever she was thinking about wasn't exactly happy. Was she remembering her time at boarding school? I didn't know for sure, but I remembered she didn't have an extremely good experience there, based on things I'd heard and read — other than the meeting-Dad part of it.
As we turn and walk up to the car (actually a limo, long and white with SQUAAD painted on the side in black), Dad called out, "I'll miss you, have fun." The three of us going replied in a jumble of, "So will I," "I love you!" "Bye!" "I'll see you later," "Keep me posted!" etc. before entering the limo.
The limo had a strange feeling of being bigger on the inside than the outside. The interior was an off-white color instead of the blinding white the limo had been on the outside — probably a deliberate choice on the part of the designers, since one wouldn't want the people using it to go blind from the brightness of the interior's color. Two long, comfortable-seeming benches, extending from each of the two doors at the front of the long back section almost to the back wall, lay, one on each side, along the two sides of the vehicle, leaving plenty of standing room in the middle. A speaker was wired in at each corner of the passenger section, and armrests (all of which were up, since we, the first ones on, hadn't sat down yet) could be pulled down to separate one's own seat from the rest of the bench — not that I was likely to take that option.
The moment we all got seated (Mellie on the seat closest to the door we came in, I next to her, and Silver in the middle of the bench opposite us), the limo began to move. Out the window above the bench I was sitting on, I could see Mom and Dad and the two youngest waving frantically, as if this was the last time they'd see us again. I waved back until I couldn't see any sign of them before leaning back, pulling a worn paperback book out of the drawstring backpack I brought along, and opening it up to where I had stopped the night before.
All I could think was, I never should have chosen to go. Yes, I knew I wouldn't be alone in this, but new experiences generally were not my thing. I didn't know what possessed me to come out here to wait for a transport that would take Kara and Silver and I someplace none of us had ever heard of before we got our acceptance letters from there a couple days ago, but I somehow made that choice. Now? I was getting major butterflies just thinking about it.
Kara seemed to sense my anxiety, since I heard her say, "It's all right. The school can't be too far away from here if we're going by car." Her reassurances did nothing. The distance didn't matter; the fact that this was new to me did.
"I wish I could switch with Aika right now," I heard myself whisper.
"Well, if you did, that would mean Aika would have to actually pretend to be you, and she isn't exactly the best at pretending," my older sister replied. She paused for a second or two before continuing, "Although you two do look basically alike." More like exactly, I thought. Same height, same hair color/style/type, same eye color/shape, same everything. More than once, I've been asked if I was a twin because Aika and I look identical.
At that moment, Mom, Dad, Aika, and Michael came out to say their goodbyes before we left, getting into a white limo with SQUAAD painted on the side in black. I, due to how we arranged ourselves, was the first to get on — how ironic — Kara was second, and Silver was last on the limo.
As soon as we got on, I chose a seat right by the door we came in, pulled down the armrests on either side of me, and began fiddling with the buttons on the one to my right in an attempt to distract myself. One button made the seat recline, another made it go back up. One heated the seat, and another cooled it down. One started a massage, and yet another stopped it. After a little more experimentation, I figured out holding one of the buttons down would increase the intensity of the action, depending on how long it was held down. Then I pulled on a tab on the inside of the armrest, which revealed a little table I could pull out from its space if I needed to.
Before I could do much else, though, the limo stopped.
I looked at my watch: 9:59. One more minute until some kind of vehicle comes to take us to a school none of us had heard of until Kara and Mellie and I found out we got in.
Mom and Dad and my twin and my brother came out to say their goodbyes before we got on the white limo with SQUAAD on the side. I was last on since I took a little time to ruffle Michael's dark brown hair before climbing in.
As they faded out of sight, I waved until I couldn't see them before observing what my older sisters were doing, since I didn't have anything better to do. Mellie was pushing buttons on the armrest at the end of the bench opposite the one I was sitting in and Kara was reading a book — one of those famous-stories-with-a-twist that she liked so much. As for myself, well, I didn't like that type of story quite so much.
After a while, I got lost in thought as the limo kept going, so the sudden stop caught me by surprise. Two more people came on: a tallish boy with curly blond hair and a girl with long blond waves.